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China's army defends 'sovereign territory' from Japanese - in video game

Visitors look at a screen, displaying the video game "Glorious Mission Online", under a Chinese national flag during the China Digital Enter
Visitors look at a screen, displaying the video game "Glorious Mission Online", under a Chinese national flag during the China Digital Enter

By Paul Carsten

BEIJING (Reuters) - He walks backwards, emptying the magazine of his rifle into the three soldiers charging toward him with bayonets raised. They drop dead, and a small Japanese flag, its red sun stylized to resemble a bullet wound, flashes onto the screen.

These are just some of the "guizi", the derogatory Chinese term for the Japanese occupiers during World War Two, that will die at the hands of Chinese troops defending their sovereign land, in a new Chinese video game released on Thursday, the anniversary of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) founding.

"Glorious Mission Online" was developed by Giant Interactive Group, a Chinese developer and publisher, in collaboration with the PLA for use in training simulations.

Now it has been released as an online game, allowing players to defend contested islands in the East China Sea -- Diaoyu to the Chinese, Senkaku to the Japanese.

"Players will do battle alongside the PLA, with guns in hand, and tell the Japanese: 'You will not violate our sovereign territory!'" says a statement on the game's website.

The row over the barren clump of rocks in the East China Sea - administered by Japan - has badly affected relations between Beijing and Tokyo.

Japan's defense ministry declined to comment on the game's release.

The PLA was interested in having a 3D interactive game for simulations with virtual replicas of their weapons, said Richard Chiang, a spokesman for Giant Interactive.

"The military was 100 percent behind this game," he said. "Rather than playing the same foreign games like Call of Duty and being American Marines shooting Russians or whatnot, Chinese can actually play as Chinese soldiers."

Glorious Mission Online plays much like any other first-person shooter, though nationalism is prominent.

One mission has players fighting with "burning passion" from the deck of the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, in a "life-and-death" battle.

"The guizi are coming!" warns the game in a scenario where players are tasked with defending a World War Two-era Shanghai and its cultural artefacts from Japanese invaders.

"The guizi have been obliterated!" Glorious Mission congratulates the player after a grenade explodes under the last enemy's feet. Shanghai's museums are saved.

(Additional reporting by Beijing Television and Antoni Slodkowski in Tokyo; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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